John McCain Has Redefined Sleazy

I've been trying really hard to focus on the positive aspects of the candidates I support rather than demonizing their opponents.  Demonizing is cheap, easy and while it may get you votes it hurts our country.

Personal attacks and fear mongering work because they engage to our more primitive nature. It this fight or flight nature that allowed us to evolve while other species died out.  They work because when we perceive danger we don't think we simply react. And that means we don't bother to think about policy or whether the danger is real.

So when I explain, in detail, how John McCain has redefined sleazy by fabricating lies and playing them on TV to scare parents of small children, I hope I provided enough detail that you're able to determine wether or not he's a complete scumbag. As of today I think he is.

Here's what happened:

This week Barack Obama began campaigning on his education policy. That is, he put forth the ideas for education policies he says he will support and his reasons for supporting them. He even talks about how he'll pay for them. You can take him at his word or be skeptical of his motivation as a politicion in the heat of a presidential campaign, but either way you can't deny that this is a policy discussion. And in my opinion one worth having.

John McCain ran the following libelous TV advertisement in response:






This ad, which is nauseatingly inaccurate, would have you believe at 3 things:
  1. Based on the imagery and music - Obama is missing a chromosome. 
  2. Based on the narrative - That Obama has accomplished nothing in his time as a Illinois State Senator or a US Senator other that a sex education bill.
  3. Based on the narrative and out of context news quotes - That Obama wanted kids in kindergarten to be forced to either watch "educational pornography" or learn to use contraception as part of a sex education class.
That last one sounds harsh, and maybe you can come up with some additional horrible interpretations, but no reasonable person can conclude that this ad was meant to do anything but make you think that John McCain's opponent wants kindergarten to know everything there is to know about sex.


And the thing is, it's not true. FactCheck.org did an excellent job of debunking all the points and subtle messages in this ad. Every horrible scary bit of McCain's ad is false.

Bottom line:
  1. There was a sex education bill Obama voted for in the Illinois State Senate.
  2. By voting for it Obama did support age appropriate sex education for grades K-12.
  3. By voting for it Obama also supported letting parents opt out of having their kids in these classes.
In order to come to conclusions John McCain would have us believe, you'de have to dig up some very hard-to-find un-passed legislation from the Illinois State Senate, and then ignore  99.9% of the text (everything except the words "Sexual" and "K-12") .

McCain did exactly that, and then paid for that ad to run on TV in Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Missouri and Wisconsin, as well as on the Discovery channel.  At the end of the ad he says "I'm John McCain and I approve this message."

So what John McCain really said is:
I, John McCain, made up a story about Barack Obama to make it appear that he's clinically retarded senator who's never accomplished anything and wants to turn your 5 year old into a sexual deviant. I'm John McCain and I approve lying to scare Americans into voting for me.

But lets be very specific. The legislation in question is SB0099 "An Act Concerning Education". McCain's ad takes the specific text, starting on page 9 line 21, out of context by specifically leaving out all of the words except "Sexual" and "k-12". Here's the exact text:
21        (105 ILCS 110/3) (from Ch. 122, par. 863)
22        Sec. 3.  Comprehensive Health Education Program.
23        (a)  The   program   established  under  this  Act  shall
24    include,  but  not  be  limited  to,  the   following   major
25    educational  areas as a basis for curricula in all elementary
26    and secondary  schools  in  this  State:  human  ecology  and
27    health,   human   growth   and  development,  the  emotional,
28    psychological,    physiological,    hygienic    and    social
29    responsibilities of family life, including sexual  abstinence
30    and   prevention  of  unintended  pregnancy  until  marriage,
31    prevention and control of disease, including age  appropriate
32    instruction  in  grades  K  6 through 12 on the prevention of
33    sexually transmitted infections,  including  the  prevention,
 
                            -10-     LRB093 05269 NHT 05359 b
 1    transmission and spread of HIV AIDS, public and environmental
 2    health,   consumer  health,  safety  education  and  disaster
 3    survival, mental health and illness, personal health  habits,
 4    alcohol,  drug use, and abuse including the medical and legal
 5    ramifications of alcohol, drug, and tobacco use, abuse during
 6    pregnancy,  sexual  abstinence   until   marriage,   tobacco,
 7    nutrition, and dental health.
And a bit further down on page 10:
14             (2)  All  course material and instruction in classes
15        that teach sex education and discuss sexual  activity  or
16        behavior shall be age and developmentally appropriate.

My son is 5 years old and started kindergarten last week. If what was suggested in McCain's ad were true I'd never let the school get near my son. But I've read every word of  SB0099 "An Act Concerning Education" and it's the policy I want my school to follow. It's a perfectly reasonable set of rules to follow to provide an age appropriate set of skills to kids in grade K-12. But you don't have to take my word for it, read it yourself!

And after you read it, watch John McCain's ad again and see if you hear him say what I heard.

I'm John McCain and I approve lying to scare Americans into voting for me.


I have lost all respect for McCain. He's running a criminally libelous campaign, in an effort to distract Americans from the fact that he is completely unwilling to have a policy discussion. My guess is he doesn't want to talk policy because he thinks he'd lose an actual policy debate. But unless he engages Barack Obama in an honest debate we'll never know.


I'm Paul Russell and I'm supporting Barack Obama for president because I think he'll do a good job based on his the types of bills he proposes (source), his proposed tax plan, his use and understanding of technology, his successful effort to make government more transparent, and his clear superiorority to any of his opponents when it comes to foreign policy judgment.